Porn Industry Bill Is Shelved

Rhett Pardon
SACRAMENTO – A bill that would regulate the porn industry was effectively shot down Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 2798, which would have mandated testing of all performers before production on an adult film can begin, was sent back for further study.

“The bill is dead, it will go nowhere,” Brian O’Neel, Assemblyman Tim Leslie’s press secretary, told XBiz.

Leslie, R-Roseville, argued that his bill would protect the public health by cutting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

“This represents a tremendous public health risk, because the actors eventually go to their hometowns, where they have other relationships that are not involved in the filmmaking industry," Leslie said.

On Tuesday the Assembly Health Committee voted to move the bill to an interim hearing for May 19. But O’Neel said that the legislators are most likely to shelve the bill permanently.

“There are no other bills involving the porn industry, so the only other way to protect the performers is through new rules that OSHA might impose,” O’Neel said.

O’Neel said that unless another bill is gutted and language put in place similar to Leslie’s bill, the soonest a newly written bill could reach a legislative panel is in January.

“That means that if a bill were to pass and be signed by the governor, it could only be enforced by January 2006,” O’Neel said.

The adult trade group Free Speech Coalition, San Francisco-based Titan Media Inc. and others opposed the bill, saying they believe they have done a sufficient job regulating and testing themselves. Until last month, no cases of HIV had been detected among performers for the last five years.

The adult film industry already requires its talent to be tested for HIV every 30 days. But the requirement works on the honor system.

With the exception of a few production companies, condoms are never used.